BELGIUM, Brussels. The UECBV is tackling all today’s complex challenges the sector faces – making it clear that livestock and meat are not the problem: they will be part of the solutions for sustainability, including biodiversity, playing a key role in the food value chain with its valuable nutrients for a balanced diet.
On 8th November 2019, the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) held its annual general meeting in Athens. Under the theme “Meet the Present – Make the Future”, the political and economic challenges of the European meat industry were tackled.
The first key topic was dealing with Trade with Mediterranean countries, while the second was today’s trends and evolutions in international trade, sustainability and labour shortage. Both topics were discussed in the sense of how the Industry 4.0 can help to face the challenges, especially with specific view to the expected Green Deal of the new Commission for achieving sustainable goals as an opportunity for the European meat sector.
Around 200 participants from most of UECBV’s member countries in 24 EU Member States, and also from some partner countries, like Japan, Australia and New-Zealand, as representatives of national associations and operators from the livestock and meat trade and industry, joined for interesting information and discussions on fair conditions and scientific evidence.
In two working sessions, around 20 speakers and panellists tackled, first, “Trade policy and interactions within the EU / non-EU economic picture, potential and future in light of the new EU Commission Green Deal” and, second, “Meat Industry 4.0, how new technologies could be used in the meat sector to face labour shortage and to answer the new EU Commission Green Deal sustainability goals?”
Regarding the increasing critics against the livestock and meat sector, it was emphasized that the EU operators were already doing a lot out of responsibility for improving; however, much more should be communicated.
Due to present confusion regarding health and sustainability of meat, the sector will go ahead relying on facts and science-based evidence to stress out the high value of animal production. It will do its best to innovate, for purposes of attractiveness, workers welfare and facing labour shortage, including sustainability. Industry 4.0 is seen as a tool box that will make the revolution of Artificial Intelligence happen, including the livestock and meat sector.
As a further topic, the Social pillar will need to be part of the UECBV strategy to deliver in the framework of the Green Deal, in view of harmonised fairness in producing natural products in a respectful manner, “without losers”.